A combination of a very busy time here at the lodge and my leave falling at the end of the month has led to this update being a tad late, my apologies. What a busy month of sightings not even sure where to begin. August is reputed to being the best month for sightings and it certainly lived up to it this year. A combination of factors come together to create ideal conditions for game-viewing. Firstly, it is dry, with all surface water, except pumped water, having dried up. This leaves only a few places for the animals to go to, to quench their thirst. Secondly, the vegetation has thinned out, all the leaves on the trees have fallen with only a few Mopane Trees clinging onto a handful of amber brown leaves and the once long, thick grass has been reduced either by grazing or trampling of the many hungry herbivores, thus making viewing very easy. With the temperatures also risinginto the high twenty’s, low thirty’s during the day and mid-teens at nightfurther contribute to the dryness and overall congregation of game around water and areas of better feeding.
So enough about the weather, I think the best way to go about things this month is to tell you about a few of our highlights, or I could still be writing this at the end of the month.
After the excitement of our Pangolin sightings of last month, this month we didn’t find one but in their place we did have four different sightings of Aardvark, that strangely enough came to signify an incredible drive but not for the Aardvark itself. Shortly before Remembers sighting of his Aardvark he found us a Cheetah on an Impala kill, another contender for sighting of the month. Thinking back on it Remember had an amasing run providing us with many of our sightings this month.
Not totally left out of the action I had a good run of Leopards as did Vicky who made it look so easy showing us boys exactly how to go about things. Oddly enough before Dean’s Aardvark sighting he was privy to Rockfig Jnr’s female cub, Nyaleti, climbed up a large Knobthorn tree towards a White-backed Vultures nest, where she promptly chased off mom, for you sensitive readers you may want to skip the next line or two, and ate the chick. I’ve only heard of this one other time and it also happened here in the Timbavati, but on this occasion it happened to a Fish Eagle, oddly enough it was also a young female Leopard who was responsible. It would appear that you need to find something incredible before finding yourself an Aardvark, going to have to up my game next month. Staying with our spotted friends we also had Ntsongwaan kill an Impala on our front lawn and proceed to drag it passed all the staff housing before pulling it down into the riverbed and hoisting it into a Weeping Boerbean in front of camp. This was a firm favourite of the camps resident Vervet Monkeys, NOT!
As you all know our Lion sightings are very hit and miss but with the two young Ross Males killing a fully grown Giraffe it guaranteed us Lions for a week. This sightings was an interesting one to watch develop as at first it was only the two males, even the Hyena were not about as they had killed themselves a Buffalo not far away and were pre-occupied with that. Slowly the Vultures started to gather and this drew the attention of the rest of the Ross Pride who found their way to the kill and joined their relatives. The Hyena’s done with their Buffalo started milling around the area and could afford to be patient as they had just fed. So the waiting game began, with all the Vulture and Hyena activity around we all thought that Mbande would be drawn in and possibly the Machaton Females but he was late off the mark and only arrived once the Ross Pride had moved off and the clean-up crew had moved in. Having fed off it for a week there was not much left for the scavengers to clean up and they made light work of it and the sighting only lasted another day. It was great to watch it develop and see how it played out and definitely yet another contender for sighting of the month.
With herds of Elephant and Buffalo around nearly every corner they were kinda taken for granted this month but none the less still very impressive and we were fortunate to spend a fair amount of time with some very large herds.
On a personal note I challenged myself to 30 days of birds posting a pic every day, so I thought I’d share a few with you here to wrap up things.
Also being the indecisive person that I am, I’m going to let you, the follower, decide as to sighting of the month! Good luck.
Till next time, cheers,